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UAE Civil Aviation Authority Seeking to Verify Qualifications of Pakistani Pilots and Engineers

UAE Civil Aviation Authority Seeking to Verify Qualifications of Pakistani Pilots and Engineers

The director general of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority has written to his counterpart in Pakistan seeking to verify the qualifications of Pakistani pilots and airline engineers employed by carriers in the Persian Gulf country. The request comes a week after Pakistan aviation minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan claimed 40 per cent of Pakistani pilots held fake qualifications.

The fallout from the scandal has already resulted in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) grounding 150 pilots who held “dubious licences”. The airline has also been slapped by European aviation regulators with a six-month ban which will prevent PIA flying to or from the bloc for the rest of the year.

“We would like to request your good offices to verify the licensing credentials of the attached pilots list who are currently holding UAE’s pilots licences based on licences and qualifications issued by Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority,” the letter, dated June 29, from the GCAA’s Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi read.

The UAE is seeking to verify the credentials of Pakistani pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and flight operations officers. All of the UAE’s airlines are potentially impacted, including Emirates, Etihad and flydubai, as well as Air Arabia.

At the time of reporting, there was no suggestion that any Pakistani aviation workers in the UAE were working with fake qualifications.

Khan told Pakistan’s parliament that pilots had managed to get other people to sit entrance exams for them and some had even faked the level of flying experience they had. An investigation that started in February 2019 concluded that 262 pilots out of 860 active pilots in the country had not sat the pilot exams themselves.

But the PIA’s pilots union claims the allegations are a set up and are part of a cost-cutting plan to get rid of pilots in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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